Roger Urbina's 2-year-old colt Reprized Halo posted a tremendous upset in the $350,000 In Reality Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes at Calder Casino & Race Course's Festival of the Sun on Saturday, denying Gourmet Dinner a sweep of the series and paying $94.60 to win in the process.
Apprentice jockey Jose Alvarez, who did not enjoy the seven pound weight allowance because it was a stakes event, was aboard Reprized Halo for trainer Manuel Azpurua. It was the first stakes race of the young rider's career.
Early in the 1 1/16 miles race, Little Drama and Decisive Moment battled each other on the lead, setting fractions that would set up well for a closer. While Gourmet Dinner seized the lead coming down the stretch, it was Reprized Halo with the most momentum on the rail and he motored past them all in deep stretch to win by 1 ½ lengths over Gourmet Dinner. Decisive Moment finished third.
Reprized Halo covered the distance in 1:50.50 and paid $94.60, $16.00, and $7.00. Gourmet Dinner, the heavy favorite, returned $2.40 and $2.10, while Decisive Moment paid $4.00 to show. The $94.60 win price is the fourth highest in the 29-year history of the Florida Stallion Stakes.
Winning trainer's quotes:
Manny Azpurua - "I always thought he was better than he was running in the afternoon by the way he trained in the morning, but he wasn't living up to my expectations. So we took the chance running for the (claiming) tag ($25,000) hoping he would gain some confidence. After the four races he ran before, I didn't think anybody would look at him much and they didn't. He didn't win that day (second), but he moved forward to his good race last time in a maiden special. I don't have any real plans for him right now."
Winning jockey's quotes:
Jose Alvarez - "At first I was a little nervous, since this is my first stakes race, but I rode him last time when he broke his maiden and Mr. Azpurua gave me confidence that this horse would run well and that I could ride him well, also. I gallop him in the morning as well so I know him pretty good. The race didn't go according to plans because we intended to be closer to the pace, but he didn't want to go through inside. After the field spread out a bit, he got more confident and started to run. In the stretch everybody drifted wide and he it was easy for him to close on the rail."
The In Reality is the first stakes win for seven pound apprentice Jose Alvarez who currently has won 17 races at the meet.
David Fawkes (trainer, Little Drama, 5th) - "He (Little Drama) got pressured the whole race (by Decisive Moment) and it cost both of us.
Sebastian Madrid (jockey, Gourmet Dinner) - "I was where I wanted to be (early) and was in front at the sixteenth- pole. He just got beat."